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A Father's Day Poem For My Father

Updated on August 4, 2017

The Story Behind The Poem

I don't know how many people can remember things from when they were three or so, but I seem to remember quite a bit. Even to the point that I can remember feelings and emotions, almost at times smells and details that are so vivid it is like it happened just a few years ago. I am now on the good side of fifty, but those special memories haven't faded a bit. The day I am referring to in the poem I wrote for my father occurred on a very warm spring day, and I remember the good, clean smell of the freshly tilled earth, the pungent aroma of the tomato plants and the tiny little onions bundled into their little bunches, held together by string,My Father was out in the garden getting ready to start planting. As a matter of fact, he had already started putting seeds into the ground, probably for cantaloupe or squash. He was busy marking off rows and I wanted to be in the garden with him, helping if he would let me anything just to be close to him. I adored him, and he took me everywhere with him, except for work. I remember walking into the garden and him looking up and seeing me and smiling as he dripped sweat. He asked me what I was doing, and as he stood up and started walking through the garden again, he told me to be careful where I walked because he had already started planting.  I replied, "I'll just follow in your footsteps".  I was referring to the depressions in the tilled dirt his feet had made. As soon as I said those words, he stopped dead in his tracks and whipped around and gave me the strangest look I had ever seen on his face.  I had no clue what I had done, but will never forget that look.  He stood there a minute looking at me, and then said, "I'd better be careful where I go".

Follow In My Footsteps

The original copy of the poem I gave to my Father for Father's Day in 2004.
The original copy of the poem I gave to my Father for Father's Day in 2004.

I had no idea I had just struck a chord in him about how important our role as a parent truly was. We talked about that day years later, after I had become a mother myself and he told me that that simple sentence I had said truly made it hit home for him what being a parent really meant. It meant more than just providing a roof over your kids head and food for them-it also meant you needed to think about your actions in life and how they would affect your family. It meant that important lessons in life could be learned in as simple a setting as a half planted garden. And it made him realize that I trusted him totally to lead me in the right direction, not just physically but morally, ethically and so much more.

As Father's Day nears, I think we should all stop and take a few moments to reflect on what our Fathers have taught to us down through the years. Mine is still going strong at seventy-three years old, working four days a week, even after a heart attack, a pacemaker and a knee replacement. I have never known a stronger, more determined man to live each day for all it is worth and still willing to learn something new every day from life. He is the one I always call when I want some honest advice, even if I don't agree with him all the time. At least I always know where I stand with him, and he won't lie to me. The world doesn't make men like him anymore and my God I love him. He's not perfect, but neither am I and he's close enough to perfect for me. Daddy-this one is for you. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, and I hope you and I have a lot more time together; I'm not through learning from you yet.


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